Cutting guest towels from the budget

We recently hosted a 10-day family reunion of sorts at our house. While we were on the go much of the time, occasionally we found ourselves in front of the television.

When you have an average of eight people, ranging in age from younger than 5 to older than 60, agreeing on what to watch can be challenging. But we did find one channel we could all agree on, HGTV.

While I don’t normally watch a lot of HGTV, I find it strangely compelling. Should I see even a few seconds of a show as I pass through the living room, I can’t tear myself away until I see how the remodeling job turned out or whether the homeowners decide to “Love It or List It.”

One new trend that HGTV covers is tiny houses, some of which aren’t much larger than a good-sized playhouse. These are the ultimate for those looking to downsize within an inch of their lives.

I find the tiny house movement intriguing, perhaps because my wife and I are drowning in stuff. I would estimate that 70 percent of the things in our house today were not in the van in 2005 when we moved in.

Yet we did quite well back in 2004 with a mere 30 percent of the junk that now fills every nook and cranny.

Perhaps we should seriously consider a tiny house as a good way to get back to the basics. As with most things, tiny houses have their pros and cons, I’m sure. For one thing, should we move into a tiny house, we could no longer host family reunions. On the plus side, no need to buy guest towels.

One couple on HGTV built a tiny house for themselves, their five cats and five litter boxes. They definitely won’t be needing any guest towels, though they might want to invest in a couple of military-grade gas masks.

Painting our two-story house is a daunting task. Painting the exterior of the average tiny house can be accomplished faster than a couple on “House Hunters” can decide whether a kitchen “works” for them.

Want to paint just the living room? With a roller extension you don’t even have to leave your recliner.

On the minus side, however, should you return to your tiny house from a hard day at the rat races, drop into your recliner and throw back that lever too quickly, you just might break a window with your head, smash the TV with your feet, or both.

Tired of high heating and cooling bills? With a tiny house you’re reducing the space you need to heat or cool by a factor of 10. Staying ahead of the housework is also a breeze as you can run the vacuum in just under a minute, unless you have five cats.

And clutter will be a thing of the past. There will be no room for closets full of clothing; shelves full of books, CDs, LPs and family photos; your beer can collection; your musical instruments; or your jewelry-making supplies.

But you’ll be too busy staring lovingly into the eyes of your fellow resident(s) to miss all that stuff. This is unavoidable, as no matter where you are in the house, when you look up you’re staring straight at anyone else inside.

That brings up another downside. You really have nowhere to retreat when your spouse is being disagreeable. And a teenage girl whose life has just been ruined by her parents for the third time in two days can stomp only as far as the other side of the room and will be hard pressed to find a door to slam.

Should she cross the line and force you to tell her to “go to your room and think about what you’ve done,” she will likely stay right where she is while she pretends to think about it.


Hmm, all this clutter and the space it occupies are starting to look pretty good. Maybe we’ll love it and not list it just yet.